The construction landscape is characterized by a high level of disorganization and too often does not allow for a simple coordination of all the aspects involved in the processes. Information flows are disordered, and productivity levels are sometimes not optimized. For that reason, there’s the need to adopt systems that allow for the efficient and effective management of all the information involved, and so the need for integrated design and BIM emerges. The objectives are clear and simple: increasing productivity, reducing time and errors, rationalizing processes and optimizing solutions and costs.

In the BIM world we can find the active and transversal participation of a series of professional figures (clients, architects, structural engineers, energy planners, companies, etc.) who work in synergy in all phases of a building’s life cycle. It differs from classic (or linear) design because all these professional figures collaborate parallelly to minimize time, errors and costs, optimizing decisions and achievements.

BIM fits optimally with today’s needs, in which the concepts of ecology and sustainability have taken a leading role. It’s about rethinking the way we do things to achieve the desired benefits, and rather than relying on capital investments in equipment (post-facto) you have a collaborative process that incorporates the input of all team members already in the project identification phase (pre-project intervention).

BIM: what is it?

The term BIM is the acronym for Building Information Modeling, which is the information model of a building. BIM should be understood as a methodology (not just as a simple software tool) that allows you to generate a three-dimensional virtual model containing all the information about a building, not only information relating to the design phase, but to the entire life cycle of the work. BIM, therefore, is not just merely design, but it is also planning, construction, management, maintenance and, finally, the decommissioning of a building.

At the base of the BIM philosophy there is all the information necessary for the definition of the model; these must be entered into a database and disseminated with the most appropriate communication methods, allowing professionals and clients to share information in a simple and transparent way.

The integrated planning aims to encourage exchanges between the professional figures concerned, with a view geared towards creating a synergy between all those involved and optimizing the objectives (environmental, planning, budget, overall costs, etc.) as well as preserving them in the best way possible during the implementation phase (anticipation of pitfalls, better planning, reduction of changes, etc.).

BIM, in short, is a method to create aesthetically satisfying, structurally and energy-efficient buildings, which help, in turn, to build sustainable communities. It is, therefore, a collaborative process that:

  • outlines the design, construction, operation and use of the building for the duration of its life cycle;
    • is put in place to enable the client and other stakeholders to develop and implement clearly defined and challenging functional, environmental and financial objectives;
    • employs a multidisciplinary design team that possesses or acquires the necessary skills to meet all the design needs deriving from the set objectives;
    • first proceeds to the elaboration of global strategies for the design of technical systems of buildings and then moves on to increasingly detailed strategies in order to obtain optimal and more highly integrated solutions.

BIM: when to use it?

In the traditional model, the customer and the technician in charge (the architect, the engineer, the trusted surveyor, etc.) agree on a project (based on a functional program) and only then are the other professional figures (the architects, engineers, thermotechnicians, etc.) who develop the part of their competence independently and without coordination contacted.

Integrated design, on the other hand, uses the synergy of the skills of the members of a team during all phases of the project. Thanks to the BIM methodology, the building is “built” before its physical construction, using a virtual model, through the collaboration and contributions of all the players involved in the project (Architects, Engineers, Consultant planners, energy analysts, etc.). It is therefore possible to integrate all the different needs of the customer (client) with the aesthetic and functional aspects (architectural project), the structural and seismic engineering aspects (structural project), the systems engineering aspects (plant design), the energy saving aspects (energy project), safety aspects (safety coordination project), and management and maintenance aspects (facility management). This translates into a high level of systems integration and one that effectively reduces costs while meeting performance targets. The integrated design process is particularly appropriate when environmental objectives are important and require specific skills. In particular:

  • high level of energy performance (passive construction, Zero Energy, etc.)
    • building certification
    • use of expert studies (energy, environment, mobility, etc.)

In these various cases, the use of the BIM methodology allows all professional actors to understand the problems and implications that these objectives will have on their work.

BIM: all the advantages

The adoption of the integrated design process, in recent years, has conquered more and more ground because it entails (for both companies and customers alike) a long list of advantages. Let’s take a look them individually below:

Professionals work as a team

The delivery of the design-construction project offers a simplified methodology in which the owner just has to maintain contact with one entity rather than managing several of them or paying an internal project manager to supervise the project. As the designer and builder take full responsibility for the project, from design to costs and planning, this method is the quickest for the client, minimizing any possible conflicts as well between engineer and contractor, since they are part of the same team.

Respected timetables

In the delivery mode of an all-inclusive project, both in the design phase and in the construction phase, the technical and construction details will be understood and resolved in the moment that they arise, guaranteeing a collaborative approach amongst all the professionals involved. All details are defined and validated by professionals, each for their own sector of expertise, while the project progresses. The construction company can anticipate the necessary resources, logistics, relationships with suppliers and subcontractors and anticipate the prefabrication of the elements.

Fewer costs, errors and unexpected hiccups

Integrated design encourages and favors the review of the project as it is built and the cost of construction. Through dialogue and communication amongst all the various stakeholders, the best options are evaluated and costs are negotiated.

Reduced delays

Since the different phases of the design and construction process can be parallelly performed rather than one after the other as in the traditional method, this fosters a speedier delivery of projects.

Dispute prevention

Since all the professionals are part of the same team, many clients have observed a reduction in the number of appeals to legal disputes. Several insurance companies have also noted a decrease in the number of claims related to integrated design projects.

BIM: the new decree

The advantages of BIM and integrated design are crystal clear, and that is why this methodology became mandatory thanks to the D.M. 560/2017, subsequently modified by the recent 312/2021 which adopts some corrections to accelerate the necessary digitization that is affecting all aspects of society and therefore also the construction world, making BIM a real promoter of change (driver for changes).

BIM: who to contact

BL-SOLUTIONS offers integrated engineering services in the commercial, industrial, infrastructural, production and residential sectors.

  • structural feasibility studies
    • integrated design at a preliminary, constructive and definitive level
    • seismic improvement and adaptation interventions (complete with seismoclass certification useful for the 110% Sismabonus)
    • structural modeling, analysis and calculation
    • seismic vulnerability analysis on civil and industrial buildings
    • construction supervision
    • technical office management for companies
    • general contractor for turnkey contracts

BL-SOLUTIONS relies on integrated design and BIM, and its professionals provide state-of-the-art skills that contribute daily to the monitoring of technical risks and structure assessment.

The use of integrated design allows the company to guarantee customers and partners compliance with contractual commitments and terms, offering greater responsiveness and ensuring the reliability of the execution of our results.